With the hirings of Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations and general manager Farhan Zaidi, the Los Angeles Dodgers added two of the more forward-thinking executives to lead their front office.
With both coming from smaller markets accustomed to utilizing and relying on sabermetrics, Friedman and Zaidi said they would rely on all information and refuted the notion that their decisions would solely be tied advanced stats. With only minor trades completed, it was difficult to judge whether that would be case — until the final days of the Winter Meetings.
In a flurry of activity, the Dodgers traded Dan Haren and Dee Gordon, and have a deal in place to send Tim Federowicz and Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres. In the expected Kemp trade, the Dodgers will receive Yasmani Grandal and two pitching prospects.
Grandal presumably will be used in a tandem with Ellis, which Zaidi is a proponent of, and he excels in pitch framing — something Friedman valued during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays.
However, there are concerns with the 26-year-old catcher. Namely his right knee that underwent surgery in 2013 to repair a torn ACL. According to Pedro Moura of the OC Register, a scout believes Grandal’s knee surgery is a concern and has affected him:
The knee is the major question,” the scout said. “The surgery is affecting him on defense. I saw him throw pretty good, but I do think his mobility behind the plate was hampered.
The scout also added he believes Grandal is capable of recapturing the form he once showed:
I don’t think he’s a slam-dunk first-division catcher right now, but I see the possibility to get back close to as much potential as he showed before. A left-handed hitting catcher with power as a backup is great, and that’s the worst-case scenario, but I think they’re expecting more.
Grandal hit 15 home runs and finished the season with 49 RBIs in 128 games played last season, which were all career-highs. While the Dodgers will need him to help supplement the power that’s been lost in Kemp and Hanley Ramirez, Grandal may benefit and avoid breaking down due to being part of a platoon.
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